THE GRANDER CLUB
A few days ago, I got this photo on WhatsApp with the simple text…. THE GRANDER CLUB!
For some stupid reason, it took me a few long seconds to register what the hell was Carl on about!
Then it dawned on me, every single one of these guys have actually caught a Grander at Bazaruto with us aboard Vamizi. How surreal is that, these four friends, some of which started fishing with me 15 years ago, and other´s only last year, have each shared the unforgettable experience of catching a 1 000-pound Marlin…. THE GRANDER CLUB indeed!
Carl Jankowitz, (second from the left) needs no introduction to those who know the Bazaruto fisheries. You might as well call him Mr. Grander. The first thousand-pound fish he saw was the BEAST. That was when Jerome Sedgwick, his Dad´s best friend, fought this mammoth in November 2009 for over five and a half hours. Despondently, that one in a lifetime fish was sharked right by the boat and the remains weighted 1 007 lbs. This was an old lady, her body scarred from a long life in the big blue wonder, her lower jaw bending down from old age. At 152 x 82 she was probably around the fourteen hundred mark and yes, I did have a tear or two in my eye! Almost a year to the date, and again, during the last day of the Bazaruto Invitational Tournament, Carl weighted his first Grander, a fish that got tail wrapped and died and weighted at 1 098 pounds. He has not stopped since and just earlier this year he got what might very well be Mozambique´s first ever Blue Marlin over a 1000 pounds. Yeah, if someone tells you that myself or Vamizi have a lucky star, it’s probably because this gentleman as spent so many days out at sea with us!
Certainly, right up there in the Grander Club.
Peter Dowling, the young chap on the far left, was aboard Vamizi when Carl got that 1 098lbs. He was a great help polishing that Johnny Walker Black as we made our way back, fish in tow! One might think his got some lucky star under his belt as well. For the time he has spent aboard Vamizi, he had certainly seen his fair share of big fish, and on the 9th of December 2014 he went one better. After hooking up a massive, dodgy, stubborn deep fighting fish on a lure and fighting it into the dark for over four hours, Peter finally released an estimated 1000-pound Marlin, to make it into the Grander Club.
That was one hell of a big fish Season. Very much like last year, I think we saw a real one every two out of three days in October 2014. Carl, of course also got into the thick of things that year and released one which was borderline on the 19th of October, which we called 950 plus. But, five days earlier we had released one that left no doubts about any kind of borders…she was right up there!
Lowtjie Nel, (with the pelagic shirt), arrived with his son Warren, and a couple of friends, for a four-day charter just as things had exploded during the 2014 season. Along with him there came a bunch of plugging and light jigging rods and off we went light tackle fishing and popping! Yes, a sin in October but that is what the guys wanted to do. Lowtjie´s first hookup of the trip turned out to be his first ever Sailfish release. Then, on the second day of their trip, the 14th of October, a windless flat calm day we enjoyed a few nice popping and jigging session´s at 25-mile reef up north. Needless to say, I was having sever withdrawn symptoms and feverishly itching for some Marlin fishing, so, as it happens, when it got quiet I suggest we put the lures out and troll all the way back to lighthouse for an afternoon popping session there. Just as I was tacking inshore an hour later, a skipjack took one of the bait rods and I remember begging if we could put it out as a live bait just for half an hour. The few minutes where some of the most surreal I have ever experienced…
Rigged the bait and put it out and while I was waiting for the boys to bring the lures in, and while still holding the leader this mother of a fish appears right by the transom. I literally hand fed it to her, free spool and as we come up on the drag this beautiful, majestic fish jumps clear out the water a couple dozen meters from us and we see the bait go flying. While I cursed and swearer and spat and spat in frustration, very casually, Louwtjie, right behind me in the chair simply stated – “Thank God, that think come out, it was a MONSTER, we would have never have gotten him! What the F&%$ was he on about, no clue whatsoever what was right there….yes, it definitely was a monster, NO not cool she got off!
Luckily that fish was hungry and as we started to skip the now dead bait she come back and pilled on it and this time the circle found the corner. We were off to the races on Lowtjie´s first ever Marlin. A spirited, endless jumping fish that took two hours to released.
And, that´s how Lowtjie got into the Grander Club.
Now, Andrew Carrick first ever Marlin only remotes to last year and yes it was a Grander. It was the 24th of October 2018, the first day of Carl Jankowitz second charter for the Season. It had been on fire and the previous 4 days we had released 5 out of 5 including a 700 and an 800 pounder. Along with Carl where Rian Chambers and Andrew Carrick. On the way, out Carl told me all he wanted for this trip was for Andrew to catch a Marlin so I went through all the do´s and don’ts and rigged him up in the chair. We set the lures at 6h30am on the northern side of the canyon and not 20 minutes had a bomb explode on out long left and hooked up. What followed was a great surface fight for two hours with some breathtaking jumps. Eventually we got her on the leader, swimming strong and estimated her to be 1 100 lbs. Now, that´s a first Marlin to remember. The next day we hooked another big girl right of the bat, sadly she got tail wrapped and died, she went 814 lbs for Rian…but that´s another story…
Here´s to the four horsemen of the apocalypse…
Well done guys what a pleasure and honor to have shared it with you…
THE GRANDER CLUB!
Duarte A. M. Rato
Sportfishing Charters @ Vilankulos & Bazaruto Archipelago
FB: MarlinMoz Sportfishing & fishbazaruto.com
Phone: 00 258 82 805 7160 / 00 258 84 639 0466